Glossary: past tense
The past tense is a grammatical marking on verbs. (See also inflection.) E.g. the verb in She sounded tired is a past tense form (compare the present tense form in She sounds tired).
Verbs in the past tense are commonly used to:
- talk about the past
- talk about imagined situations
- make a request sound more polite.
Most verbs take a suffix –ed, to form their past tense, but many commonly-used verbs are irregular.
See also tense.
- Tom and Chris showed me their new TV. [names an event in the past]
- Antonio went on holiday to Brazil. [names an event in the past; irregular past of go]
- I wish I had a puppy. [names an imagined situation, not a situation in the past]
- I was hoping you'd help tomorrow. [makes an implied request sound more polite]